Friday, December 28, 2007

Theme for the New Year

Each year, my friends and I plan a ‘Theme’ around which we will try to live our year. Dana was the one who started it all! This year just ending was Hospitality. The year yet to come is

My aim is to make life simpler, and incorporate more beauty into it, without compromising the simple!

To start me off, I have devised some ideas around which I will build my theme.

"simplify through planning"

--There are so many things I want to do, and I never remember. I was most successful when I planned, but having a planner doesn't work for me. So instead I am going to use my calendar. I am seriously considering buying a really nice one to use. I loved my calendar, because it sat right next to my computer and did the job. I think I can make it work . There I will plan some fun stuff I will probably steal from blogs like Dawn's and Serendipity and others. I need to learn to do just ONE AT A TIME though. This is the simplify part

"use themes"

--Dawn used a theme for Christmas... woodland Christmas. It was really cute. I figure with themes, you can make a seasonal celebration, much like at Serendipity, come together. This definitely speaks to the beautiful part too

"create good habits".

--This speaks for itself. Some things I need to learn to do at appropriate times, like fold the laundry RIGHT AWAY so I don't end up with a huge basket of it to fold -my least favourite chore. Again this is to be a ONE AT A TIME thing. One at a time is to be my new motto. I always want to do so many things!

“Live Seasonally”

--Each month is part of a season… and each season has it high points. I was astonished to see Dawn had a list of events for each month posted on her blog. I really like this idea. Last night, I tried to make up my OWN list for January. I used hers as an outline ;)

“Add Beauty”

--It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That is very true! But the little touches are the ones that mean the most. Donna Marie had a beautiful post over at the 4 Real Forums last year. This year, I printed it out and put it in my ‘to do’ pile! I added a bunch of homemaking blogs to my blogroll for inspiration, as well as some blogs by artists. I won’t be always able to visit these blogs, but when I need the inspiration, they will be there!

Sarah, over at Plainsong, had a lovely list of things she was doing for her Home Sweet Home Challenge.

Strive for these Goals

1. Invite the Blessed Mother to my home. . .daily, with a Memorare for the intention of asking her to visit me as she did her cousin, and to help me keep my eyes toward heaven.

2. Begin my day with a Morning Offering-to offer my all to God

3. Follow a simple organizational routine

4. Take on little things to help our household stay beautiful and joyful.

5. Write about household topics and link others' blogs who are motivational

The Rules:

1. Remember People are more important than things

2. Remember that messes look bigger than they are

3. Small things done in the home can add beauty

4. Stay real: we will never be perfect, especially with children around us

5. Keep a sense of humor

6. Forgive myself for imperfection and limitations, focusing on those things I do accomplish

7. Persevere

I think it goes without saying, that these things are something I shall be putting into my own plans!

Elizabeth has a lovely post about incorporating aspects of the Liturgy of the Hours into her day. While I do not own a book, my newly received iPod, does allow me to listen to the many daily prayer podcasts, as well as read the hours from Universalis anywhere in the house!

Dawn has a post about planning. O.K. She has SEVERAL recent posts about planning! I will NOT be following her into making a calendar ;)

I WILL however, be looking again at my Home Companion and redoing it. I did like Elizabeth’s idea of multiple smaller ones… but I also need to assess what it is I want from it :) I know that somewhere there is a post about it, but since it was on the Homeschool Blogger blog, and I have yet to move it to the wordpress one, it’ll have to wait ;)


I do hope you all had a nice Christmas Day. For much of the world, it is back to normal… for those who are Catholic, Christmas doesn’t end until January 13th (the baptism of the Lord)!

My family had a wonderful time. Our Christmas had been somewhat bothered by the fact that an elderly family friend got sick and died, but the day itself was a little oasis of peace :)

Some photos of the day:

She was happy to get her doll :)

He was happy to get his legos!

The doll, made from a Magic Cabin kit.

She tastes REAL tea from her 'Silver' teapot on her new Tea Trolley. She LOVES this thing!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Book Meme

Cristina over at Homespun Juggling tagged me for this Book meme. I, being the lazy sort, do hereby tag anyone not yet tagged… but I think especially GraceatHome and TheRoadLessTravelled :)

1. One book that changed your life:

Ooh… I am not sure. Perhaps a recipe book ;) I can't think of a good one :/

2. One book that you have read more than once:

Oh I have to agree with Cristina, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is one of my favourites. But I would gleefully add any one of the entire Chronicles of Narnia series here :)

3. One book that you'd want on a desert island:

Depends. If I were there for entertainment… I’d want something nice and long to read. Like Don Quixote. I have never managed to read that.

On the other hand, if I were stranded there… I’d want one of those survival books. You know the ones that tell you how to make a lean-to, how to make fishing rods, how to find food… what plants are safe to eat. If there is such a book!

4. One book that made you laugh:

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. My favourite would be Lords and Ladies in which, my absolute favourite quote of all time (which I still laugh at) appears:

The sum of all knowledge can be summarized thus;

In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.

I thought that was the best Big Bang Theory description I had ever read :)

5. One book that made you cry:

I don’t like books that make me cry. If someone dies in a book, I cry. There are so many, that I lose count.

6. One book that you wish had been written:

I am still waiting for Dawn to write one. She has some good ideas. Between her and Alice, I think there is a really great liturgical year book, which I’d love!

7. One book that you wish had never been written:

Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge. I had to read that in school, and it still ranks as the single MOST BORING book I have ever read.

8. One book you are currently reading:

Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

Well after Cristina’s approbation, I want to read The Alchemist!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Some Things are Cool...

My Friend Molly shared this link with me... and it was a hit with our Addams Family loving family :)


The Homeschool Family

Are you a Scrooge?

You Are a Traditional Christmas Tree

For a good Christmas, you don't have to re-invent the wheel.
You already have traditions, foods, and special things you bring out every year.
What Christmas Tree Are You?

HT To Drew over at Running River Latin School

It's been a busy week or two around here, and I have more to do, so posting will be sporadic, but in the meantime:


Monday, December 10, 2007

Well that didn’t last long!

I am sitting here with the window open, enjoying the balmy temperatures. Yes, here in VA it is in the mid 70’s (hovering around 23 degrees C) and I am loving it! I guess that means soup is out for dinner though... :o The snow lasted about 10 minutes on the ground after it started falling, which was not even long enough to go play in it!

And the water… argh! I fell off of that wagon fast! In my defense, my regular routine got all messed up, and I just ended up forgetting to drink. So I will restart that this week.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The First Snow and Fit in 40.

Today we are having our first snow of the season. It is pretty, but very wet… not the sort to settle much.

I am thinking I might emulate Dawn and make a special treat to celebrate the first snow. Snowy cookie/biscuits, hot carob (DS is allergic to chocolate),

I have hopes that we’ll actually get some real snow this year… the kids would love to play in it :)

Fit in 40 Update:

Well so far so good. I have managed to drink enough water each day, AND of course I had other drinks. This time of year just MAKES people eat drink eggnog right? And I have to have something other than water for dinner… after all I have to use UP all those cans of coke right?

The side effects have been minor so far. My hands feel really dry. I am not sure whether that is the weather and the annoying fact that I wash my hands more in winter because of the germs. I have a germ-o-phobic husband, which is a good thing because we’d be sick more often if he were not ;)

The more water I drink, the more I seem to want, which is annoying :) And of course, the bathroom breaks are more frequent. Annoying, but something I can deal with :)

Now, I actually managed to get my targeted number of drinks in both yesterday and the day before… so lets hope I manage today too :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Fit in 40 week 1

Nissa has posted the first week of the Fit in 40 Challenge over at her blog (the link is in the sidebar under the Fit in 40 icon :))

So my challenge this week is to drink about 9 or 10 cups of water every day. Wow. This is a habit I have been trying to adopt for a long time, and I have never yet managed to get it to the habit stage ;) Oh well. No time like the present to try. So here I go. I wonder if coffee and coke count (I was not so successful at cutting those out yet :D)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Christmas Story

This coming Sunday marks the beginning of Advent, which those of you who study Latin will recognise as coming from the Latin word meaning ‘to come’ -- ad venit. Having suffered the decapitation of my baby Jesus from my nativity set, I was inspired to pick up my needles and start knitting after seeing that the Kathe Kruse dolls were a little too pricey for me :D

The idea was, to give the kids something with which to act out the Christmas story. I wanted something soft and safe to play with… and I have a lot of spare yarn in my stash :) So digging down into the stash, I grabbed appropriate colours and began to knit. Here are the initial characters!

From The Gospel of Luke Chapter 1: Douay-Rheims Bible 1899

26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. 31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. 33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?

35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren. 37 Because no word shall be impossible with God.

38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What a Week...

I do hope all of you in the USA had a Happy Thanksgiving! Ours was intimate, and a little subdued, because a family friend is rather sick.
Then we took advantage of the sales, and bought about 3 things. The rest we got online another time!
THEN there are the presents to be made... my Secret Santa Recipient will get some, and so will the kids... so I'm busy busy busy. Aren't we all?
I'll get some pictures and such uploaded later!
In the meantime, Elizabeth has posted some Christmas ideas :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Fun...

I LOVE Lemon meringue Pie!  HT Drew over at Running River Latin School

You Are Lemon Meringue Pie

You're the perfect combo of sassy and sweet.
You always know how to brighten someone's mood, but you're not overly sappy.
In fact, you can be a bit too honest at times. And most people find that refreshing.
While you're always true to yourself, you keep things light. That's how people are able to stomach your slightly bitter outlook.

Those who like you have well refined tastes.
You're complicated - and let's face it - a true enigma.
You enjoy defying expectations, and there are many layers to your personality.
There's not one easy way to define you.
Then after all the eating, perhaps you'd like some entertainment...
Try this one over at Nissa's Blog!

Blogged with Flock

What Part of Thanksgiving are You?

HT to Dawn.

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Oridnary, comforting, and more than a little predictable
You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Blogged with Flock

Ben Stein on Christmas

I discovered this over at  Does it Bother You if I Change my Title Occasionally?
And I found it very interesting :)

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on a CBS Sunday Morning Commentary............

Herewith at this happy time of year, a few
confessions from my beating heart: I have no
freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them
on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am
buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask
the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know
who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will
it change my life if I know who they are and why
they have broken up? Why are they so important?

I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do
not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife.
Am I going to be called before a Senate committee
and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just
have no clue who Nick and Jessica are.

If this is what it means to be no longer young.
It's not so bad.

Next confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors
was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little
bit when people call those beautiful lit up,
bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel
threatened. I don't feel discriminated against.
That's what they are: Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry
Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting
me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact,
I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers
and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It
doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger
scene on display at a key intersection near my beach
house in Malibu If people want a crèche, it's
>>just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred
yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a
Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting
pushed around for being Christians. I think people
who believe in God are sick and tired of getting
pushed around, period. I have no idea where the
concept came from that America is an explicitly
atheist country. I can't find it in the
Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the
idea come from that we should worship Nick and
Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we
understand Him?

I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.

But there are a lot of us who are wondering where
Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we
knew went to.


Blogged with Flock

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another Bookwalk

Over at Cay's Cajun Cottage!

You could win Alice Cantrell's book Tea and Cake with the Saints... but you only have today to do it!

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Inner European

HT: Mary Ellen.  I saw this days ago and spent a LONG time trying to see if I could get English.  But no... I was Dutch, French, Spanish, Irish, Swedish and Russian, in the end I answered as truthfully as possible, and apparently, Je suis Francaise.  Bonjour tout le monde!  Je m'appelle Rachel...  I guess it could be true, after all my grandmother was half French...

Your Inner European is French!

Smart and sophisticated.
You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Serendipitous Journey to Christmas

Those wonderful bloggers Katherine and Elizabeth have done it again!
Serendipity is now beginning some Jesse Tree preparations and Lesson Plans in readiness for Advent and Christmas.
In the meantime, the Gnomes are enjoying a month long addition study, and the Lively Language Lessons will resume in January!
You will also find 'G' up at Along the Alphabet Path.
If it confuses you at all, Elizabeth also posted a sample weekly schedule on her blog Faithful Over Little Things.

Blogged with Flock


Nissa shares this wonderful talk over at her blog Simple Gifts.  You HAVE to listen to it, I am sure you will find yourself agreeing with it.
Most of us who homeschool can really sympathise with it!

Blogged with Flock

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thinking Ahead

So perhaps you are not crafty enough to make your own toys...  and you are tired of hearing about yet another "Made in China" recall.  What can you do?
Well Vicki over at Balderdash & Blokus has compiled a series of links to help you buy toys from elsewhere.  HT to Homespun Juggling for the link :)
Then there are books, DVD's... and other such gifts.  In the meantime, batten down the hatches and think fast!

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Spies and Halloween

We should be making Soul Cakes today, because of the All Saints and All Souls feasts :) BUT, I made cookies yesterday, and two little munchkins got a LOT of sweet things from their Trick or Treating last night.

Here they are in their costumes :)

First, the inspiration for the costumes... Spy vs. Spy from Mad Magazine. Jacobite has shown them a few cartoons of them from online and they are captivated. One suggestion from me, and yes, they wanted to be them!

And so, Jacobite and I brainstormed, and came up with their costumes. These were REALLY easy, but a lot of fun and VERY much admired ;)

Spy vs. Spy

Spy vs. Spy from the front.

The "White Spy".

The "Black Spy".

Parents loved the outfits. Kids didn't know what it was, nor did they like the attention they got LOL. Well... except for our kids of course ;)

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

If An Englishwoman Can Do It...

Then surely you can too ;)
HT to Esther over at A Catholic Mom in Hawaii

You Are a Smart American

You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.

Blogged with Flock

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fit in 40

I was intrigued... Nissa and the Simple Gifts blog are going to eliminate certain foods, go natural cleaning and more for this challenge!

The group beliefs are here:

I believe that I am a living tabernacle. I want my body to be the healthiest it can be in order to live out His mission for me. I know that whole, natural foods, grown and raised organically contain healing nutrition. I believe that I can make a change in the way I care for myself and the precious family He has blessed me with. I believe that He will give me the grace and strength to live life to its fullest.

The premise as Nissa describes it:

That's the whole idea behind "Fit in 40", BTW. We're going to eliminate foods from our homes, cleanse, fast (the last two are off the list for preg/nursing mamas), and use from scratch cooking and food combining to improve our health. It's a 40 day plan to get to where we need to be. It takes committment every day of the rest of your life to maintain it.

I am leery, because DH doesn't take kindly to change, but I can change for me, right? :) You can go to her blog and sign up if you are interested, it starts December 1st, but all the posts will be archived for those who come later!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


A chance to win Cay Gibson's New CHRISTMAS MOSAIC (worth it I assure you, especially if you liked her Catholic Mosaic) over at her blog!

HURRY so you have a chance to win!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Daily Work

You can see our daily work over at the Wordpress blog... which is where I plan to keep putting it :)

Blogged with Flock

A Homeschooler's Best Friend

I thought some of you might find this interesting :) HT To my husband over at Jacobite Musings.

Useful Resources

Sometimes there comes a resource you love so much you almost DON'T want to share it because it is SO good.
Serendipity is one of theses... I urge all those who are starting out to take a look... because you will love what these two hardworking, homeschooling mothers have done!

Serendipity School.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

A frustrating Project

You would never believe it, but this 'easy' pinny turned into a nightmare... all because of the bias binding.
Note to people who want to make it:
1. Sew the pieces together first, trimming the edges even if necessary.
2. PIN the binding in place and check you have caught ALL the edges.
3. CONSIDER basting it!
4. Sew from the narrower side of the bias tape.

I think one of my major problems was that my pretty cotton fabric just loves to fray, and that does not help matters much.
Would I make it again? Yes... because I wont let it get the better of me, and also because it really does look pretty once finished.
Next time, I'll try the cotton flannel ;) Or maybe a seasonal print!
HT to Turkey Feathers for showing the way to the pattern... and who made one too ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Trouble with Tribble Toys

A recent aquisition of the original Star Trek Series, has allowed my kids a foray into the world of their parents (and even grandparents) youth.
So, no surprise that they loved the 'tribble' episode of Star Trek. It was, however, a big surprise when M'Lady declared that she wanted one!

I racked my brains.
I could of course, try and buy one on Ebay for a lot of money. Or I could make something resembling a tribble for a lot less.
It was a no-brainer. I took a trip to the local fabric store and picked out a furry fabric, making sure it was soft and strokable.

Then I had to sew it up. M'Lady was impatient, so rather than take my time to make a nice spherical or hemispherical shape, I cut out semicircles, sewed them together and stuffed the tribble.
The tribble sleeps in M'Lady's bed. Rebel will run around the house with squealing tribbles if you let him, but this ball of fluff is definitely a well loved, homemade toy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This is a Bit Scary!

HT goes out to Drew and Katherine. I think I'd have preferred Bert or Big Bird...

You Are Elmo

Sweet and innocent, you expect everyone to adore you. And they usually do!

You are usually feeling: Talkative. You've got tons of stories to tell. And when you aren't talking, you're laughing.

You are famous for: Being popular, though no one knows why. Middle aged women especially like you.

How you life your life: With an open heart. "Elmo loves you!"

Blogged with Flock

Prayer Warriors

As is often the case when the weather gets cooler, the emergencies keep coming.
Please keep Alice's Mother and Dawn's grandmother in your prayers, and pray for a fast recovery for them both.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, October 15, 2007

Some things are worth Sharing

For those of you who do not read Elizabeth's blog, go check out her ideas for keeping baby busy (trust me, she has had enough practise to inspire anyone ;))

Blogged with Flock

Friday, October 12, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

My guilty pleasure... oh dear, unlike Matilda, I don't just have one show I like... but a family! I LOVE the CSI shows and the Mystery series on PBS are great too!
So if I had to pick my guilty pleasure though, it would probably be CSI MIami or Mystery!. I like Mystery! because it reminds me of home, and I love CSI Miami just because. It is so unbelievable it is like the fairy tale CSI :)
And no, the kids are not allowed to watch although they have tried before now :D

HT: Waltzing Matilda

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Maggots, Magnets and Good Ideas

M'Lady came running up to me earlier, her hand held out, squealing about the "weally cute, wittle caterpiwwar" (really cute little caterpillar) she had found. I took one look and squealed... because it was NOT a caterpillar, but a maggot. GROSS!
After making M'Lady get rid of it, I made the kids show me where they had found it... even worse, it was the kitchen floor, right near my kitchen dustbin (trash can to Americans).
I was puzzled... the rubbish was changed JUST last night, and no flies had been in the house for the last few days. Unfortunately for me, we have had a bumper crop of houseflies (bluebottles) this year, much to my disgust (and to the pleasure of the owners of Raid I add-- this is one area I am NOT natural in ;)). Every time you open the door during the day, they seem to get in. I am guessing that this little creature came from one of our weekend visitors. I swept up around the bin. I sprayed the bin with lemon scented Raid (I like the lemon scented one a lot), and I worried. I will be worrying for the next few days, for if there is an insect that bothers me a lot, the housefly is it!

But, life goes on! I saw a couple of great things to share today... Amy at Angry Chicken, has put together a recipe cheat sheet... what a great idea (and time saving too.) I will be making one up for myself, maybe sending a copy off to my little sister who just started university!

And Elizabeth blogs about another brush with burnout, and what she has done to fight it. I mentioned her new collaborative blog yesterday...

And finally the 4Real forums are back up and running, with a new look, and a new purpose! This is such a blessing to the Catholic families out there... and even the non-Catholics who wish for new ideas :)

Blogged with Flock

Winnie the Pooh and Kanga Too!

Which 100 Acre Wood character are you?
ht to Maria over at Tater tots and Ladybug Love, who was Winnie the Pooh himself :D

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What's going on in Our Homeschool

School has been temperamental recently... there were birthdays, and this past week has been a week of me getting used to contact lenses (YAHY) and trying to fix my blog. Not such a bad thing because Rebel has been reading some of the Horrible Histories books by Terry Deary, although Asterix did sneak in there a bit (he's fantastic for those learning Latin BTW), and we did listen to a couple of Columbus Day shows, one from Homeschool Radio Shows (great site) and the other from You Need a Story (also great!).
There were a couple of parcels from my Mum with some books in (mathematics and English amongst others... the kids have enjoyed these), including some of the aforementioned Horrible Histories. The kids worked some on the books.
Then there was the outdoor time, the library book reading, and the expressed interest in Mars mentioned (Lego Mars Mission was rebel's birthday present) on top of it all.
Finally, we are loosly working with Katherine and Elizabeth over at Serendipity. That is definitely worth a look!

I thought it was autumn...

My calendar says autumn began two weeks ago (on Rebel's birthday to be exact), but I think it got lost along the way!
Yesterday hit 95 degrees here, while today was a fair bit cooler being only in the low 80's. The weathermen persist in claiming the 'fall temperatures' to be coming, but when they are talking about temperatures in the 70's, I just can't agree! AUTUMN is temperatures that necessitate at the least a cardigan or a lightweight jacket!
Now, don't get me wrong, I am not really complaining. If it were too cold, my kids would not be so willing to go outside, and I would not be enjoying October so much, but still, it does peeve me a little when I make an autumnal menu up for the week, only to be hit with temperatures in the 90s on the days I planned to have stew or soup!
That will not deter me, however! Soup is STILL on the menu for tomorrow... after all, the temperatures say summer... but the gardens do not!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Posts and Updates

I have opened a Wordpress Account with the intention of moving all my old Homeschool Blogger Posts there... indeed I have even moved the posts from this blog there too...
Why? When I went to make some changes on the page it had some kind of weird bug in it... NOT of my making, but from blogger... no need to worry though, I will keep this up for now ;)

Monday, October 08, 2007

What Kind of Mother are YOU?

From HT to Theresa, who shares her learning style with me ;)

Your type is: intp —The “Love of Learning” Mother

“I keep the encyclopedia in the kitchen so we can look up things together while we eat.”

  • Intellectually curious and patient, the INTP mother relishes those times with a child when they are learning something interesting together. Whether they’re at the zoo or computer terminal, she sparks to answering his or her “whys” with in-depth responses or new knowledge.
  • The INTP mother is also objective and introspective. She listens to and discusses children’s ideas and questions as she would those of a peer, fostering self-esteem and confidence. Open and non-directive, she allows children the freedom to do for themselves and quietly encourages them to believe they can do it.
  • Independence, autonomy, intellectual development, and self-reliance are probably the INTP’s highest priorities for her children. An avid reader, she naturally imparts an appreciation and love of reading as well.
  • Drawn to all types of learning, the INTP may also value her mothering experience for all the new insights about life it provides her.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

For those with Daughters

HT to Drew:
This ad is part of Dove's "Real beauty" campaign... and boy does it resonate with this Mama!

Please Excuse My Dust

But I am currently working on my blog. I apologise sincerely if you have odd posts popping up on your feed, or weird goings on as you attempt to read the site! I have changed my layout and look and am attempting to implement some widgets on my sidebar. I have not really been very successful, but I will persevere ;)
In the meantime, as I said, excuse my dust and odd postings you get and take a look at my updated look :)

Autumn Meme

HT to Dawn who created it!

A Fall Meme

When does fall begin for you? Autumn begins for me (native Englishwoman that I am) at the beginning of September. Here in Virginia it is more like the end of October!

What is your favorite aspect of fall? My birthday, foggy days, falling leaves, wind, bonfires, conkers and acorn collecting...

What is your favorite fall memory? OOOh, I cant think of one. I liked playing conkers and collecting acorns. I think it was more the birthday thing that drove me though ;)

What do you like to drink in the fall? Right now, anything cold (it's still hot here). Once it gets cold, hot chocolate. I do like the 'punch' (Americans call it hot cider LOL) that other people make ;)

What's your favorite fall food? Soup, I love soup. Potato cheddar soup is good, and black bean soup is delicious! I also LOVE apple pie and apple crumble and my American treat is pumpkin pie. I had never eaten it before I came over. Also sweet potato pie...

What is fall weather like where you live? The days are warm the evenings cool. It is pretty much perfect here in Virginia. Although I am actually wishing for rain on my birthday this year... as a child my birthday ALWAYS seemed rainy!

What color is fall? Oranges, browns and reds, with hints of gold and deeper yellows.

What does fall smell like? Bonfires, wet leaves, frost.

Holiday shopping in fall: yes or no? Yes! I have to get presents to England which means mailing before Thanksgiving.

If you could go anywhere in the fall, where would you go? England! If I could only do a daytrip, then the Blue Ridge Mountains would work...

What is your favorite fall sport? Hate sport! Just not my cuppa tea!

Do you have a favorite fall chore? "autumn cleaning". I go through the house and tidy. I like it only because the house LOOKS tidy though... like certain other people I do not like to do chores very much!

What is your least favorite thing about fall? Definitely the days getting short. I LOVE the long summer days and really don't like the shorter winter ones. I can deal with the cold, but longer days would be MUCH nicer. (And when you grow up in England there is SO MUCH more of a difference!!)

What is your favorite fall holiday? Well, they are mostly new to me. We never celebrated Halloween or Thanksgiving back home. I LOVED Fireworks/Guy Fawkes Night. Since I don't get it here, I guess Thanksgiving is the next best thing ;)

What's your favorite kind of pie? Apple pie with ice cream and custard.

What was your favorite Halloween costume? I never dressed up for halloween... except for one year when a neighbour had a party. We went as witches (my sister and I) with little bat shaped masks for our faces. Mum made the costumes ;)

What was your favorite Halloween candy? Since we never trick or treated I will cheat and say my favourite 'candy' is hands down either mint or caramel filled chocolates. I also have a definite love of liqueur filled chocolates. As a kid I liked bounty bards (they are like mounds).

What was your least favorite Halloween candy? I hate candy corn. Disgusting. I also hate those butter flavoured hard 'candies'. Yeuch!

Which do you prefer, the Farm or the Fair? Never been to the fair. I do like the Fall Fiber Festival though.

Do you have a favorite fall book? Nope. I do like the flower fairy ones though... oh and Susan Branch's autumn book.

How about a favorite fall poem?

I really like this James Whitcomb Riley one, I start reciting it in autumn :) But you can see a whole bunch of autumnal poetry here. I LOVE that site! I also LOVE this Emily Dickinson poem.


The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Happy Autumn!

Friday, September 28, 2007


Some of you know that we've been dabbling in the world of Waldorf... at least as far as art goes!
Taking the Waldorf ideals of rhythm and beauty and making them Catholic has taken up a great deal of time over on the 4Real forums recently, but my kids were already making their way.

Here are some pieces by M'Lady (Rebel has managed to hide his stuff ;))

This is a picture she drew of a tornado. She also wrote 'tornado' on it. She was very proud of it!

This is a duck she drew on a 'magna doodle' style pad.
M'Lady: "I weally, weally wike your drawing," (to Jacobite)
Jacobite: "Is it a picture of me?"
M'Lady: "No! It's a duck. I just drawed it's wing!"
Apparently the picture was FOR her Daddy! So I had to photograph it!

Attempt 1. I had to teach her how NOT to push so hard with the paint brush.

This time she did not push so hard, and she had mixed up the paint more.

This is the most recent effort. The paper was super wet this time. She was experimenting with mixing colours.

All the paintings were wet on wet using tube watercolours. I mixed up about 2 fl. oz (guesstimate) with about a 1cm long 'worm' of paint. She could 'visit' the worm to get a brighter colour.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Beauty of Toymaking

“ONCE upon a time there was a very beautiful doll's house; it was red brick with white windows, and it had real muslin curtains and a front door and a chimney.

It belonged to two Dolls called Lucinda and Jane; at least it belonged to Lucinda, but she never ordered meals.
Jane was the Cook; but she never did any cooking, because the dinner had been bought ready-made, in a box full of shavings.”

And so begins the tale of Two Bad Mice, by Beatrix Potter… a tale about a dolls house. It gets more interesting. THAT dollhouse belonged to the niece of Norman Warne, Beatrix’s erstwhile fiancé, and it took her a LONG time paint being as it was NOT her beloved wildlife.

It was, of course, a handmade house, and it is fairly obvious that at least one of the two dolls is a handmade (probably wooden) doll.

In fact, in the Victorian and Edwardian eras in which Beatrix wrote many of her ‘little books’, most of the toys were handmade.

Nowadays, it is a sad statement on the current lifestyles of our children, that they have so many toys and so few favourites. My favourite toy is still with me after all these years. He is a little the worse for wear, and I have no idea if he was a homemade toy or store bought, Cottontail (named after Peter Rabbit’s sister) was real a long time ago! (For those who are unfamiliar with the 'real' concept or who have never read The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, I highly recommend it!) Cottontail inspired the toy beneath him, which was a rabbit I made for my son many years ago. The two of them are still played with today by my daughter, and still well loved!

Indeed, the ‘realness’ of toys is often a factor in the importance of toys... and I am not the only one to think so. Cay Gibson tells her story of a handmade doll, made real.

We had a crisis regarding dolls just the other day. Some kind, loving friend of the family gave my three year old porcelain dolls... which, although quite lovely, are really not the province of little girls. You see, accidents can happen. Yes, accidents like this one.
It truly was an accident this time. Dolly went flying when she opened her blinds, and a few minutes later, she came running, screaming and crying to me about "it's bwoken...".
She was almost inconsolable... for a doll she rarely even touched. Yes toys are very real to our children, which is why kids deserve those special toys, made with love and a story.

Katherine’s children will have such stories. She and her daughters have been making dolls from Magic Cabin kits. She has step by step pictures AND all the doll making posts are linked in her sidebar.

And here is a Waldorf Style Bunting Doll, if you feel bitten by the dollmaking bug.

Not all special dolls need to be made of cloth. Eileen and her kids took a step into the past and made cornhusk dolls. What a lovely autumnal craft, and a wonderful story (and documented with photos too!). In fact, Eileen has many crafty toy ideas at her blog!!

If you are handy with your knitting needles, you might liked the idea of knitting dolls or doll clothes, or even some other kind of knitted toy. There are so many wonderful resources online to do just that... Alice mentioned a few the other day in the original toymaking fair! There are even knitted Dalek toys for the sci-fi fans.

Not into knitting? Why not try paper dolls? There are historical versions at David Claudon's website. If you are a fan of Brit Coms or even Star Trek, you might find these paper dolls amusing! There are many paper doll sites online, and over at flickr, you can often find historical ones just for fun! Be warned though, it is NOT just a fun toy for the kids, there are many adults who enjoy the hobby too!

Maybe a wooden doll is more your style? Hitty: Her First 100 Years is the story of a wooden doll, made in the 1800s. She is described as having pegged joints... and if you have woodworkers in your house, perhaps you can make your own Hitty Doll. If you scroll down you will find the wooden doll information, but there is also a bunch of information about other kinds of dolls there too.

Sometimes it is the children who make things. My son spent days with old cardboard tubes, boxes and tape, making himself a marble run. (Think tubes and holes for marbles to roll down). I had hoped to take a picture of it for this fair, but life happened and the thing was disassembled and shoved in the cupboard. I suspect it would have come out of the closet if someone had not had a birthday in the meantime ;)!

Amy’s kids made some lovely fairy houses and acorn fairies as a wonderful craft. These are such great seasonal things to make... a lovely addition to a nature table too!

Our lovely fair organizer Alice, was a little surprised when her daughter had some fun with duct tape and her kids also made some lovely gnomes for their wee garden.

Maybe your child is interested in making for younger sibling. Sara's 8 year old helped her to make a book for the baby! What a great thing to do for your baby brother or sister!

Sometimes, allowing the kids to make toys can be a matter of sanity... YOURS! Maybe it is a rainy day, or your sick and need a quite craft for the kids to work on. In that case here is a really cool page of toys to make.

For the slightly older/more modelling inclined, Canon has paper toy print outs from their papercraft site.

There are, of course, pioneers in the field of toymaking, blazing the way into the future with crafts from yesteryear. Take Tasha Tudor. She made dolls, doll houses, clothes and all sorts for her family and herself. Yes, you do not need to be or have a child to make toys J

EDITED TO ADD: Our very own Elizabeth has been having fun making math gnomes and working on a seasonal table with one of her sons :) Take a good look because there is a lot of inspiration there! (I really want to make these ;))

And check out the lovely rocking horse and dolls house over at Lindafay's Higher Up and Further In (Love the name of the blog from my favourite book!!)

If you do decide to make some of these toys, or some variation or original design of your own, don't forget that there is another Toymaking Fair at Almamater on October 20th!



Rebel turned 8 yesterday.
He woke up early and wriggled in our bed while Jacobite and I tried to get some more sleep. Finally we sent him down with a present from Nana and Grandad, to keep him quiet!

As I came down to make him some pumpkin pancakes (he loves pumpkin) I told him the story of his birth. He has heard the stories many times, but I like to tell them!

He did not want to go out for a special meal, instead he wanted to stay at home and have sausages (only because they were out of ham) and Lima beans. His greatest ambition is to get stronger!

He did not want a homemade cake, which was a shame because mine taste oh so much better, but we compromised. I wrote on a store bought cake with orange icing in a tube. Orange being his favourite colour.

He did well in the present department, faring well because the exchange rate is in my Mum and Dad's favour... meaning they get to send over lots of dollars for a few pounds!
Seriously though, they got him the ever impressive Lego sets, which later Jacobite and I helped someone get set up. Apparently he inherited from someone (not me) the inability to read the instructions first!
I got him halfway there so today he can finish it off. If he can find the piece he mislaid!

Oh well, he has some Rock 'em, Sock 'em robots to help ease any frustrations ;)

Now all he needs to do is hide the goods from his little sister, who has already tried to lay claim to the robots! (Takes after her auntie!)

Here is to eight more wonderful years!

PS Jacobite tells me these are terrible pictures of DS... and indeed they are not great. It is very hard to take a picture of a moving target... ;)